Thursday 25 April 2019

Carty and Aki to skip Connacht clash as Hill ruled out for Wales

Bundee Aki. Photo: Sportsfile
Bundee Aki. Photo: Sportsfile

Cian Tracey and John Fallon

Jack Carty and Bundee Aki will not be available for Connacht against the Ospreys on Saturday as Joe Schmidt opts to keep them in cotton wool ahead of the French clash next weekend.

The Westerners will, however, be able call upon influential locks Quinn Roux and Ultan Dillane as they will be released from Ireland duty.

Following Ireland's win over Italy last Sunday, Schmidt reported that Aki passed his HIA despite not returning to the pitch. Schmidt also said that Aki was doing well and had already been asking to be allowed play for Connacht when they host the Ospreys.

With Joey Carbery expected to be sidelined for several weeks, Carty will now take over as Sexton's back-up, which understandably has made Ireland reluctant to release him for Connacht.

"Bundee is always tapping on the shoulder, he wants to play every game," head coach Andy Friend said.

"But I believe he took a bit of a head knock there. He has got a HIA to get through.

"I'm not saying the other men aren't, but he is certainly a vital man for Ireland. Given that injury there they will be looking after him."

In a further blow to Connacht, flanker Seán O'Brien has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury. O'Brien suffered a setback in his recovery and will now require surgery.

Elsewhere, Wales will be without their lock Cory Hill for the remainder of the Six Nations.

Hill, who scored one of Wales' tries in their win over England, picked up an ankle injury that means he will miss the games against Scotland before the potential Grand Slam decider against Ireland.

"He was outstanding on Saturday, with his try as well," Wales skills coach Neil Jenkins said.

"He's a fantastic player for us and good to have around the squad.

"Cory will be a loss but it's the same in any squad, a loss is someone else's opportunity and we've got some fantastic players in that position. It will be interesting to see who plays in the last few games."

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